People Can Develop Long Flu Similar to Long COVID-19

COVID-19 isn’t the only viral infection that causes lingering health problems — the seasonal flu is also linked to an increased risk of certain conditions well after the acute phase, according to a new study of veterans who were hospitalized with either COVID-19 or the flu.

The research, published on December 14 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, found that in the 18 months after infection, people hospitalized for either COVID-19 or seasonal flu had an increased risk of death, hospital readmission, and health problems in the heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, and other organs.

“The study illustrates the high toll of death and loss of health following hospitalization with either COVID-19 or seasonal influenza,” said coauthor Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, a clinical epidemiologist at Washington University in St. Louis and the chief of research and development at VA St. Louis Health Care System in a press release.

“Many people think they’re over COVID-19 or the flu after being discharged from the hospital. That may be true for some people. But our research shows that both viruses can cause long-haul illness,” said Dr. Al-Aly.

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